Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Come here.

No, a little closer. I have to tell you a secret.

I’m a little worried about posting this for fear of all the exclamation points that might appear in the comments, but I’m just going to squeeze my eyes tight and hit the “Publish Post” button quickly. Here's the thing:

I’ve never read a Jane Austen book. Ever.

I’m not exactly sure how I’ve managed to be such an avid reader for so long and avoid these books, but I have. I suppose it started to feel like it was too late to jump on the Jane Austen love train, but maybe not? Also, as long as I’m doing the whole full-disclosure thing, I will admit to my fear that I won’t really like them. I have this weird reaction whenever I hear or read something about Jane Austen where I metaphorically stick my fingers in my ears and sing an annoying song to myself. I sort of put them in the same category as other things that "aren't my thing". You know, like babies breath (the flower, not the real breath of real babies), horses, magic shows, and displays of glass trinkets in the home. Apologies to all the horse and glass-trinket-loving-peoples out there. No apologies if you like babies breath, because there is no excuse.

Tell me the truth -- would I hate Jane Austen? Or would it be the second best thing that ever happened to me (slipper duvets are the best)? If I were to try and read one Jane Austen book, which would you recommend starting with? Is there an order to them? I honestly have no idea…


raych said...

Hey, shhhh. I read Sense and Sensibility for the first time last year, FOR A CLASS, and haven't read Pride and Prejudice (or seen the movie!!!) ever. S&S didn't blow me away - it's no Jane Eyre - but I didn't hate it. That sort of thing has a time and a place, and overall I like it. But it's ok if you don't lurrrrrrve it.

mari said...

It's never to late too read these books!

I absolutely love her books, P&P my fave, Emma and Northanger Abby come in tied for second. Sense and Sensibility I found the hardest to read and like.

Bookish Ruth said...

Start with Pride and Prejudice. The books can be read in any order, but I always recommend starting with P&P. It was the first one I read, and it hooked me for life. I love her characters -- especially her strong female characters like Elizabeth Bennett. The dialogue is witty and still relevant today.

And since it's confession time: I've never read Stephen King. This is made even worse by the fact that we share the same last name. No relation, of course. I read the blurb for Needful Things when I was 9, and the blurb scared me so badly that I swore off Stephen King for years and years. I'm quite a bit braver now, but have no clue where to start with his work.

Bybee said...

I took a summer school class in Austen which meant EVERYTHING she EVER wrote (including her juvenile novel) in 8 short weeks. As a result, I felt rushed and harassed and was left with a lingering resentment of Austen for 20-something years. Then, this year, my book group chose Persuasion and I was able to read Austen under more tranquil circumstances and appreciate her fully this time. Her sentences are perfectly cut gems.

Alicia said...

Well since you were so brave - I must say that I have never read Jane Austen either! I know it's bad, but everyone has such high expectations that I am scared I will be disappointed!

Maybe one day I will be brave enough to try it!

Karen said...

I don't think this is a bad thing to admit to at all - reading is about pleasure not pain and if you are not interested in a book or an author I don't think you "should" feel like you "should" read them.
Having said that - I absolutely love all of Jane Austen's novels - expect for Mansfield Park (because the heroine is a bit goody two shoes for me!). I would recommend maybe watching one of the movie adaptations of one of the books first - I know Jane Austen purists would probably gasp with horror at this suggestion but I find this technique works for me when I am trying to read something that I am not sure I will enjoy at first.

Amanda said...

Ok...try Pride and Prejudice first and then Northanger Abbey. Sense and Sensibility isn't my favorite. Emma is always a fun one but Mansfield Park is odd...you either like it or "eh" it. Good luck!

Alex said...

Pride and Prejudice is one of the best romantic yarns (and I don't mean that in any negative way) I have ever read. Truly a classic in every way. Her sense of humor is sharp yet refined.

Had to read for a class in college (ages ago) and didn't really get it. Read it years later after some life experience and was blown away. I laughed. I cried. There were characters you love to hate (Miss Bingley, anyone? Lady De Bourgh?).

Try it, you'll like it.

OK, I got through that without typing a single exclamation mark.

Good luck.

Jeane said...

I've never read Jane Austen either. I think. Unless it was a long time ago in school and I forgot. And... I have no plans to read her soon. Unless a review I read of one of her books hits me over the head with YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS! Which none of them have done, yet.

Nice blog!